A Historic Four Years for Small Business in Idaho

Date: May 09, 2022

We thank Gov. Brad Little for his leadership and the Legislature for working with us on fine tuning the engine of every economy in the world—Small Business.

By taking a different course, state positioned itself to be stronger post-pandemic

Idaho had begun laying the groundwork for a strong small-business economy before the pandemic struck, but when it did, rather than retreat, Idaho stayed the course. Today, Idaho’s small-business economy is in better shape than most other states. NFIB Idaho is proud to have been at the center of the lobbying efforts on behalf of our state’s biggest job-generators and pillars of every community—Main Street, mom-and-pop enterprises. We thank Gov. Brad Little for his leadership and the Legislature for working with us on fine tuning the engine of every economy in the world—Small Business.

Victories from the 2021-2022 Session of the Legislature

Won Reduction in Top Income Tax Rate

House Bill 436 was the crowning achievement for small business. It provides $600 million in one-time relief for taxpayers and lowered the state’s top income tax rate to 6% from 6.5%.

Defeated State Sales Tax Increase

House Bill 741 would have raised Idaho’s sales tax to the highest in the nation to pay for a reduction in property taxes. NFIB members were having none of it, and their response to an Action Alert sent them by NFIB overwhelmed representatives and senators.

Prevented Unemployment Insurance Tax Increases

House Bill 450 sent small-business owners an even stronger message than HB 436, letting them know their unemployment insurance taxes would not spike on them for the next two years. Employers are the only ones who pay into the UI trust fund from which unemployment benefits are paid out to those in need of them.

Obtained Liability Protection Against Unfair COVID Lawsuits

House Bill 444 extended liability protection against unfair COVID-related lawsuits small-business owners were potential victims of.

Victories from the 2019-2020 Session of the Legislature

Won Historic Income Tax Relief

NFIB lobbied extensively, every legislative step of the way, for passage of House Bill 380, which:

  • reduced the number of brackets to five
  • set the top individual and corporate tax bracket to 6.5% retroactive to January 1, 2021
  • provided Idahoans with $162.9 million in continuing tax relief
  • gave a one-time sales tax/income tax rebate, returning $220 million to Idaho taxpayers.
Secured Significant Property Tax Relief

Working in concert with other business groups, NFIB succeeded in winning significant property tax relief and curbing local governments’ ability to tax projects. House Bill 389, among other things, increased the homeowner’s exemption to $125,000 and it reduced the amount of tax valuation local governments can take on new construction and annexation, creating a total cap of 8% in any budget year. It also reduced the amount of forgone revenue a taxing district may take for ongoing budget growth but provides a mechanism for expenditures that are considered one-time capital projects.

Defeated ‘Ban the Box’ Proposal

NFIB helped kill House Bill 196 in its first committee stage. Efforts to prohibit employers from asking job-applicants about any prior criminal history are not unique to Idaho. This has been part of the so-called progressive agenda in states across the nation. In lobbying against this ‘Ban the Box’ bill, so named because of some job applications having a box to check if convicted of a criminal offense, NFIB Idaho argued that study after study has revealed it has the opposite effect of what it intends, especially punishing, not helping, minority job-applicants. H196 never made it past its first committee, Judiciary Rules & Administration.

Won Greater Local Government Accountability

NFIB supported House Bill 73, which established a Committee on Uniform Accounting and Transparency for Local Governmental Entities. “The committee’s primary duty and responsibility will be to cooperatively develop, approve, monitor, and revise, as needed, the uniform accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting system, and manual, for local governmental agencies,” according to the bill’s statement of purpose.

Supported Improved Signature Verification for Ballot Petitions

NFIB lent its support to House Bill 290, “to ensure the security of absentee voting and the validity of petition signatures by clarifying the requirement that county clerks verify voter signatures in these instances,” according to the bill’s statement of purpose.

Backed Greater Political Involvement

NFIB also lent its support to Senate Bill 1110, which, according to the bill’s statement of purpose, ensures “signatures are gathered from each of the 35 legislative districts, so every part of Idaho is included in this process.” S1110 was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little on April 17.

From the 2019-2020 Session of the Legislature

Won “Rebound Idaho” Small Business and Self-Employed Grants

With strong NFIB backing, Idaho is the only state using federal COVID Funds to reopen the Idaho Economy with grants through “Recover Idaho” given directly to private sector Small Business and Self-employed.

Supported Elimination of Unnecessary Regulations and Red Tape

Governor Little signed Executive Orders to cut two old rules for every new rule and during the emergency, asking all state agencies to cut red tape. NFIB will continue to keep the pressure on for eliminating old, outdated, and unnecessary rules across the board in Idaho.

Won Protections for Businesses in Workers’ Comp and Frivolous Lawsuits

NFIB worked to roll back Supreme Court decisions that put small business at risk. House Bill 582 protects businesses from frivolous lawsuits by defining “Willful and reckless misconduct”. Senate Bill 1321 preserves the “Exclusive Remedy” in Workers’ Comp. These bills help maintain Idaho’s business friendly climate.

Increased Health Insurance Access

NFIB supported bills for more insurance options, flexibility, and better access. House Bill 275 allows enhanced short-term insurance plans. Senate Bill 1288 provides out-of-state insurers a license to sell individual, group, accident, and health insurance available in other states, they may now be offered in Idaho if the coverage meets state insurance laws.

Won Streamlined Sales Tax

With support from NFIB, House Bill 259, among other things, streamlines the collection of online sales taxes that reduces compliances headaches.

Curbed Abuse of Urban Renewal Districts

Supported by NFIB and signed into law by the governor, House Bill 217 restricts local governments from using Urban Renewal Districts to finance big projects without a vote of the people.

Stopped Minimum-Wage Bills

Several proposals for raising the state’s minimum-wage rate, such as House Bills 54 and 55, were stopped from advancing after NFIB’s lobbying efforts persuaded lawmakers that a robust economy was already raising wages and that boosting rates only punishes the less skilled and teenagers and young adults from entering the workforce.

Clockwise from upper-left corner: Gov. Brad Little meets with NFIB members on Small Business Day; NFIB Idaho State Director Suzanne Budge testifies on a small-business bill; State Capitol; Committee meeting.

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